In my younger years, I remember living comfortably with my 16GB iPhone with thousands of songs and videos locally stored for consumption when needed.
But with tech advancing rapidly each year, our digital files have been steadily increasing in size to a point where even my current 128GB internal storage is inadequate.
One feasible solution I found is to invest in a high-capacity microSD card. Since microSD cards are universally compatible, you can use them across multiple devices too.
So I did some research and compiled a massive list of microSD cards in the market and sorted it based on the amount of storage it offers.
But there are a lot of different manufacturers and protocol terminologies that can get confusing for most while in the market for a microSD card.
I intend to make you understand the different protocols associated and give you a refined and ultimate list of the largest microSD cards you can buy in 2023.
The absolute largest storage configuration of microSD cards you can get as of 2023 is 1TB, and the best 1TB microSD card in the market is the SanDisk Extreme 1TB due to its excellent speed read/write speed ratings with respect to the massive storage it offers, all at a very competitive price point.
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The Largest MicroSD Cards in the Market Right Now
I compiled a massive list of large microSD cards and through the process of elimination, created an ultimate list of the largest cards,
During my research, I came to understand that 1TB is the maximum capacity offered by manufacturers for microSD cards.
But with each storage configuration jump, there would be a steep increase in production costs.
For a consumer, it is more cost-effective to get two 512GB cards than one 1TB card. Hence only very few manufacturers even have a 1TB card as an option.
So considering fairness and for an easier purchasing decision, I have categorized my list based on the largest storage capacity cards each brand provides.
I also made sure the brands that I chose are reputed brands that have stood for customer satisfaction and are known to provide quality microSD cards.
Largest MicroSD Card by SanDisk: SanDisk Extreme 1TB
SanDisk is an excellent brand that manufactures a lot of memory-based hardware. Personally, it is my go-to brand for microSD cards.
The SanDisk Extreme series offers a peak 1TB option with U3/V30, A2, and UHS-I certification, making sure it is fast enough to run all your daily tasks.
It also has a rated 160MBps read and 90MBps write speeds, which is the fastest microSD card you can buy with a 1TB storage configuration.
This can also be ideal for your Nintendo Switch or an android device, thanks to its A2 rating.
At $175 excluding shipping, it can seem a bit of a steep price. But considering its competing 1TB options, it is reasonably priced.
Largest MicroSD Card by Lexar: Lexar Play 1TB
Lexar is a brand that has consistently been seen competing with the fastest microSD cards on the market. They usually make SD cards targeting the premium category.
But ironically, the Lexar Play is the cheapest 1TB memory card offering on this list.
For just $158 excluding shipping, it is undercutting the others by almost a double sawbuck.
It is also a U3/V30, A2, and UHS-I certified microSD card that is rated with 150MBps read speeds a rather paltry 30MBps write speed.
At this speed class, it can be used to record 4K videos at decent bitrates, but I wouldn't recommend it for action cameras or drones.
But since its target demographic as referenced by its marketing, is Nintendo Switch users, the write speeds aren't as important as the read speeds.
Largest MicroSD Card by PNY: PNY PRO Elite 1TB
PNY is a well-received brand that makes some great storage hardware in all shapes and sizes.
This is also amongst the last reputable company I could find that sells a 1TB version of their flagship microSD card series, namely the PRO Elite series.
The Pro Elite 1TB is also yet another U3/V30, A2, and UHS-1 certified microSD card that is rated at a read/write speed of 100MBps/90MBps respectively.
This makes it a great 1TB option for Android, Nintendo Switch, and action camera users.
But at $180 excluding shipping, it is the most premium of the three 1TB microSD cards mentioned on this list.
Largest MicroSD Card by Kingston: Kingston Canvas Go Plus 512GB
Kingston is a brand I've been using on and off for a very long time. It is a reliable and cost-effective brand that targets the speed-hungry audience amongst consumers.
The Canvas Go Plus series tops a storage configuration of 512GB, to keep the speed relative to the storage size equation in check.
It is a U3/V30, A2, and UHS-I certified microSD card that provides a whopping 170MBps read and 80MBps write speeds.
Due to the speed gains compared to the 1TB options, Video professionals tend to prefer two faster 512GB memory cards over one slower 1TB card,
The microSD card is also quite expensive, coming in at $107, excluding shipping. But for the speed-to-storage ratio it offers, it is a fantastic deal.
Largest MicroSD Card by Samsung: Samsung PRO Plus 512GB
Samsung has a lot of experience in electronics and flash memory in general. It is one of the, if not most reputed brands on this list.
They also are big names in the smartphone and camera gear markets, so they know the microSD market pretty well.
Samsung has multiple microSD card lineups that reach the large storage category, and the Pro Plus series is their flagship series, which tops at 512GB.
The Pro Plus 512GB is U3/V30, A2, and UHS-I certified, with rated read/write speeds of 160MBps/120MBps.
Although tested read/write speeds are pretty average compared to the rated speeds, it is still well adequate to handle 4K recordings and normal smartphone usage.
It is frequently sold for $110, excluding shipping on Amazon.
Key Specifications of a MicroSD Card
Before we get to the largest microSD cards you can buy, there are certain specifications of microSD cards, in general, you need to understand.
One tiny change in any of the specifications might be the reason you can get one microSD card much cheaper than another microSD card with the same storage.
I will take you through some important specifications you need to know while getting your high-capacity microSD card:
These are standard specifications given based on the amount of storage and the formatted filesystem it comes out of the box.
There are four main storage rating specifications:
- Secure Digital (SD) standard
This is the oldest standard for storage in microSD cards. Although the nomenclature still exists today, an SD card in 2023 is typically referring to newer rating cards.
SD-rated cards can support only up to 2GB of storage and use the archaic FAT12 and FAT16 filesystems. The standard is denoted with an 'SD' on the card body.
- Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) standard
This is a standard that supports storage configurations from 2GB to 32GB and is formatted using the FAT32 filesystem. It is denoted with an 'HC' on the card.
This is also a standard that is on the verge of being completely replaced. Also, the FAT32 filesystem can only hold a maximum of 2GB in individual file sizes.
- Secure Digital Xtended Capacity (SDXC) standard
This is currently the most commonly used standard, denoted by an 'XC' on the card.
It can support storage configurations from 32GB to 2TB and is formatted using the exFAT system, which has no restriction on individual file sizes too.
Every microSD card I'll be mentioning soon will be from this standard.
- Secure Digital Ultra Capacity (SDUC) standard
This is a new storage standard for microSD cards that haven't been implemented yet on any commercially available microSD cards in the market.
The SDUC standard supports storage configurations from 2TB to 128TB of storage using the exFAT file system.
When the products with SDUC certification will eventually arrive in the market, the standard would be denoted with a 'UC' on its card body.
Speed is a crucial specification of any memory card, especially if it is of a large capacity. It determines how fast your card can read, write and transfer information.
The speed ratings are universal rating specifications that highlight the minimum speeds at that the cards can function at sustained loads.
Even though the speeds can vary depending on the manufacturers, the speed ratings guarantee the minimum speed threshold symbolized by its rating specification.
There are three main speed rating classes:
- Speed Class
This is the oldest relevant speed class of microSD cards that you can buy in the market right now. It is denoted with a C, following its classification numeral on the card.
There are 4 ratings within the speed class: Class 2 (C2), Class 4 (C4), Class 6(C6), and Class 10(C10).
Since these are old speed standards, they can't handle cards with large storage well and can cause the cards to go pretty fast after too many failed writing attempts.
It's best to stay away from products from this tier, even though they are sold for very cheap with respect to the storage they might offer.
- Ultra High Speed (UHS) Class
This is the most common standard found in the market right now. It is denoted with a U, following its classification numeral on the card body.
There are two main speed standards within UHS: UHS Speed Class 1 (U1) and UHS Speed Class 3 (U3).
The U1 standard is primarily used for backward compatibility with older C10 cards, so they have the same minimum write speeds and are often grouped together.
For recording large video formats like 4K, most manufacturers recommend at least a U3-certified card for seamless processing and storage.
- Video Speed Class
This is the latest standard of speed classes that dominate amongst the fastest microSD cards available in the market in 2023.
There are 5 ratings within the V class: V6, V10, V30, V60, and V90, all represented accordingly on the micro sd card body.
This can smoothly record 8K footage, multiple 4K streams, simultaneous burst shots, and even 360-degree videos, making it ideal for sports and action photography.
The V6 and V10 standards are used for backward compatibility with the U1, C6, and C10 classes, and can be often seen grouped together on product pages.
The class V30 or above is what I would recommend if you are investing in high-capacity storage options.
You can refer to this chart I made to further understand the ratings and compatibility between the speed classes:
|Minimum Sequential Write Speeds||Speed Class||UHS Speed Class||Video Speed Class||8K Video Support||4K Video Support||FHD(1080p)/HD(720p) Video Support||Standard (480p) Video Support|
Speed Ratings of MicroSD Cards
Other Misc Ratings you Need to Consider
As you must have noticed, I did mention a few key specifications in the list of descriptions that might have confused you.
These are specifications that aren't necessary for a large microSD card to properly function, but it is a good thing to have it for extra benefits:
- UHS-I vs UHS-II Bus Interfaces
Just like read/write speeds, data transfer speeds are also very important for high-capacity microSD cards.
Ultra High Speed (UHS) is a bus interface designed for transferring data in SD cards. It has increased data transfer rates compared to traditional non-UHS-certified cards.
UHS-certified cards increase their data transfer rates with an extra set of contact pins. UHS-1 has one set of extra pins while UHS-II has two.
UHS-I can reach theoretical speeds up to 104MBps while UHS-II can reach theoretical speeds up to 312MBps.
It is represented using an 'I' for UHS-I support and 'II' for UHS-II support on the body of the microSD card.
There is also a UHS-II bus interface recently announced that claims speed up to 624MBps, but products are yet to arrive at the market with it.
My ultimate list of the largest microSD card devices you can buy all have UHS bus interfaces.
- A1 vs A2 rated cards
Most users of Android smartphones have an extra slot for microSD cards to increase their storage. They use microSD cards predominantly to store photos and videos.
But not many people realize that you can run applications directly from your microSD card, provided it has good enough read/write speeds.
Android also utilizes a completely different storage architecture, so a normal microSD card may not fully utilize its read/write speeds for running applications.
Application Performance (A) is a standard that makes sure the card is smart enough to make use of the android storage architecture and run apps more smoothly.
The standard is usually represented as A1 and A2 on the microSD card body.
A2-certified cards will boot apps faster than A1-certified cards on an Android as A2 provides a 2.7x increase in reading speeds and a 4x increase in write speeds.
While it's okay to run applications directly from your microSD card, I wouldn't recommend running games as internal storage is much faster than any microSD card.
A Mini Buyer's Guide To Getting Your Large MicroSD Card
Before you make your decision on getting the largest microSD card, there are a few things that you might need to be aware of:
As Storage Increases, Speed Decreases, and Price Increases
MicroSD card technology is an amazing technology that crams in such huge storage configurations inside a form factor that has stayed the same for ages.
With each emerging year, the technology for updated memory and speeds is only going to get more expensive.
This increases production cost for higher capacity storage for manufacturers and hence sells the products at higher price points.
Also, the larger the storage, the harder it is for the card to find, assign and pinpoint an address location to read/write your data.
This is the main reason you won't find V60 or V90-certified microSD cards that are over 256GB capacities.
Get Your Cards From a Trusted Vendor
Memory cards can be easily duped and sold for cheap. Counterfeit cards are getting better and distinguishing them from the real ones at first might be hard.
They might claim to be of a reputed brand, but only after you spend your hard-earned money will you take notice of the shady packaging and pitiful speeds.
I always recommended you buy a reputed and popular marketplace like Amazon. All the links I have provided are from trusted sellers on Amazon.
Unknown Brands Selling Cheap Cards With Great Specs Should Be a Major Red Flag
Brands that sell microSD cards can pop up from every corner.
They can claim to sell high-performance 50TB memory cards when in reality they will be selling older generation C2 and C4 cards with edited card markings.
Always check the review systems of online markets and make an informed decision. If reviews don't exist or if it's an offline market selling questionable brands, avoid it.
Check Whether Your Hardware Supports the Abovementioned Storage Standards
You can get the 1TB Lexar Play or the Kingston Canvas Go Plus, but if your device doesn't support the protocols, the card performance will be crippled.
Make sure to check first whether your hardware supports the storage standards that you are looking for before investing in the card.
The tech industry is slowly moving away from microSD, with newer, smaller, and faster technologies such as CompactFlash cards, XQDs, etc.
But the reason microSD cards are a lasting technology is due to the sheer compatibility it offers across multiple generations of devices in such a tiny package.
I have purchased a lot of memory cards over the years that have helped me with storage tasks. I have lost quite a few too and that speaks a lot about its tiny form factor.
I hope my ultimate list has brought you to make an informed decision on the largest microSD storage you can get for your devices.
Have a good day!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Many Games Can I Store On My Nintendo Switch If I Get A 1TB Large MicroSD Card?
Game sizes vary drastically, but considering an average game is around 8GB, you can store 120+ games on your SD card.
If you only keep high-end games, you can fill up your storage with 50 games.
How many hours of 4K video can you store in a 1TB MicroSD card?
Assuming it is a low bit rate, highly compressed, and low frame rate file, 1TB can store about 30 hours of footage before running out of space.
Does Samsung make 1TB microSD cards?
Samsung does not manufacture a 1TB card in both SD and microSD formats